As we know nursing is a 24-hour job. Patients that need care require it just as much at two o’clock in the morning as they do at three in the afternoon. And they need it as much at weekends as they do during the week.
The requirements for the nursing profession to deliver are relentless with increasing numbers of older and frailer patients with many comorbidities. Healthcare is becoming more and more complex as is the technology required to deliver it.
It is the relentlessness that makes it difficult for nurses to be able to take time out for training. Possible as individuals. As teams, well near impossible. Well one hospital has solved this conundrum in a very innovative way.
Barts Health has invested in a project which allowed teams from 14 older people’s ward to each take a week away. One after the other the ward teams spent a week together looking at how they could improve their care and their communication with each other. Each team returned to work with a supported action plan.
So what happened to the patients? For a six- month period the trust employed a shadow team to replace the ward team that was away. The shadow team included a matron and qualified staff – many of whom have now taken jobs on the same wards at the end of the project.
Most ward teams can only dream of spending a lunchtime meeting together. This was an amazing opportunity for these teams – let’s hope it can be replicated elsewhere.